If you thought that Milan has nothing more to offer than the Duomo and the fashion world, I’m here to tell you that you were wrong! To be fair, not even 2 days are enough to visit everything that you could see in Milan. However, we’ll try to cover most of the important sights with this 2 day Milan Itinerary!
This Milan itinerary requires two full days in the capital of Lombardy, so it’s really worth thinking to stay 48 hours in Milan if you’re looking to see all the stunning landmarks the city offers! Let’s jump right into it!
2 days in Milan – Itinerary
Day 1 – Centro Storico of Milan, and the authentic Navigli neighborhood
The first day has much less distance between the stops, so you won’t be needing to use any public transport. Everything we are covering on the first day is located in the historic center (Centro Storico) of Milan. We’ll also be getting to the authentic, colorful south side of the city, to the Navigli neighborhood! If you do want to save time on walking, during those 48 hours in Milan, you can get a 10 use metro ticket though!
#1 stop: Piazza della Scala – Teatro alla Scala
The opera house is located on Piazza della Scala. The square is in the heart of Milan, steps away from the two most famous landmarks of the city. On the square, you can see the monument of Leonardo da Vinci, the genius of the Renaissance.
The statue is facing the famous Teatro alla Scala, which is one of the leading ballet and opera theatres in the world. Teatro alla Scala opened its doors in 1778. Since then, some of the greatest Italian operatic artists, as well as singers, artists, and dancers from Italy, and around the world have been on its stage.
From the piazza, you’ll see on the right-hand side from the statue of Leonardo da Vinci one of the entrances to the famous Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II, which is our next stop.
#2 stop: Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II
The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele is connecting the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza della Scala. This is one of the highlights of a city visit, be it 24 hours, of 48 hours in Milan!
Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II is the oldest functioning shopping mall in Italy. The building complex is really stunning on its own, with amazing architecture, marble floor, and a breathtaking glass dome in the center.
Standing under the glass dome, there are four mosaics showcasing the four coat of arms of three Kingdoms of Italy. These would be Turin, Florence, Rome, and also Milan as the forth.
The Galleria is hosting many worldwide known luxury brands. And obviously, all the famous Italian brands selling Haute couture, jewelry, books, and paintings. There are also many restaurants and cafes to pick from, while you’re there!
#3 stop: Duomo di Milano
You can’t visit Milan without seeing the duomo, therefor the third stop of the day will be this!
Duomo di Milano is one of the world’s largest and most iconic Gothic cathedrals. The history of the cathedral dates back to the 14th century, and it took 6 centuries to be completed. Actually, some parts are still not ready!
Visitors are allowed to enter the right side of the cathedral. The left side is visited by people who intend to participate at a mass, or just to pray in the church.
If you want to visit inside, which I highly recommend, you’ll need to get tickets for that. The column forest, the immense rose windows, but in usual the majestic cathedral really deserves a visit!
You can also access the rooftop, which is a forest of pinnacles and spiles, and it’s absolutely breathtaking! To get tickets in advance, so you don’t have to spend time in lines – and well, especially until the restrictions due to health and safety are in place, click here for the cathedral and rooftop access tickets, and over here for just the rooftop!
The Duomo is the highlight of the Milan itinerary, so it’s recommended to plan a thorough visit to it!
#4 stop: Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa
Location: Piazza Santo Stefano, Milano
Location: Piazza Santo Stefano, Milano
Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa is one of the most interesting sights you must include in your Milan itinerary! It’s located south-east from the Piazza del Duomo, about 7 minutes away from the cathedral.
The church became known for its ossuary and skull chapel, which was built in the 18th century combining the Rococo and Baroque styles. As you can see in the picture too, the chapel is really tall and all 4 walls are covered to the top with bones and skulls. These are from the ossuary of the Middle Age that’s been standing here, along with remainings from a 17th-century nearby cemetery. The ceiling is covered with the fantastic frescoes of Sebastiano Ricci.
When you enter the Chiesa di San Bernardino alle Ossa, take it straight on the right-hand side, where a small corridor will lead you to the chapel. The entrance is free!
#5 stop: Navigli neighborhood
Navigli is the most colorful neighborhood I’ve seen around Milan. From our last stop, it’s a good 35 minutes walk along Milan’s historical center. I do advise against public transport when getting here, as you can still see many great monuments along the way! If you have 48 hours in Milan, you’ll have enough time anyway to get it all covered!
The authentic neighborhood is covered in orange and other warm colors. Beautiful Italian houses, with these typical window shades, laud people, and the charm of the canals really deserves to be on the Milan itinerary!
Taking a walk along the charming canals, and getting lost on hidden alleyways is always leading to find unexpected gems in Navigli. While grabbing maybe some Sicilian specialties like Arancini, or Focaccia in the local bakery will make the journey even better!
You can also visit the Basilica di San Lorenzo and art galleries. Stop for an aperitivo, catch the flea-market, or sunbathe near the Darsena canal.
Navigli also a very popular evening-night destination for folks looking for fun! If you’re looking for a night out in Milan, Navigli definitely must be in your Milan itinerary! Great aperitivo, great atmosphere, and dozens of bars and restaurants to pick from on the bank of the water.
Milan Itinerary stops on the way to Navigli: Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore
Location: Corso di Porta Ticinese, nr 35, Milano
As I have mentioned, while walking to the Navigli neighborhood, there are plenty of places to explore along the way. One of these is the Basilica San Lorenzo Maggiore, which is one of the oldest churches in Milan.
It’s really worth visiting it from the inside as well, to learn more about its long history. If you’re looking to visit the Cappella, that’s €1,50. There’s a combined ticket with Museo Diocesano, Basilica di Sant’Eustorgio, and Cappella Portinari for €12.00.
On the square in front of the church, you’ll also see the column lines called Colonne di San Lorenzo. Here you can always stop for a quick break, to admire the ancient surroundings. Then, you’ll see also breathtaking street art, and the Arco di Porta Ticinese is also on the way to Navigli!
Day 2 – The modern and the old faces of Milan, with some Renaissance essence
On the second day, we’ll be starting with the Isola neighborhood. Isola is outside the city center, and it’s best to take the subway (metro) if you’re staying far from it! We’ll be getting through arts, finance, modernism, Renaissance, and the famous work of Leonardo da Vinci. If you have 48 hours in Milan, definitely add these stops to your Milan itinerary!
#1 stop: Isola neighborhood
The Isola neighborhood is outside the city center, and it’s really popular for its amazing street art, colorful buildings, and the two blocks called Bosco Verticale – Vertical Forests – which are overtopping the neighborhood.
Isola is great to explore during the early hours. Grab a cappuccino and a brioche to get ready for the rest of the day! If you’re planning to do your route the other way around, Isola is beautiful at sundown! In the summertime, the park is full of life, and the views are exceptional!
#2 stop: Porta Nuova – Financial District
Porta Nuova, Milan’s financial district is one of the wealthiest in Europe, and it’s continuously developing. Its name comes from the Neoclassic gate built in the 19th century in this zone.
The financial district is hosting the Italian stock exchange and headquarters of big national and international companies. Porta Nuova is steps away from Isola neighborhood, and the Vertical Towers, so it’s great to include in your Milan itinerary while you’re heading into the city center.
#3 stop: Brera Design District
From Puorta Nuova, the Brera Design District is about 15 minutes walk, so if you’re up for it, you can skip public transport to get here! Brera is possibly the most beautiful neighborhood in Milan. Beautiful authentic Italian palazzos, cute cobblestone streets, and exhibitions. Exhibitions everywhere!
Brera neighborhood is where art, fashion, and design create a unique atmosphere and make you fall in love with the city of Milan!
In the past years, Brera consolidated its role to become the most important benchmark for design on international levels. Two of the most important events organized during the year are the Brera Design Week and Brera Design Days. For a trip of 48 hours in Milan, Brera will definitely be a highlight!
It’s one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city, but it’s also the safest, and it’s really nice to stay here while you’re in Milan. I’m going to link a couple of great accommodations for you at the end of the Milan itinerary!
The district developed around the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera– Fine arts Academy. While I have mentioned this, the Accademia, and the famous Pinacoteca di Brera are also unmissable! It’s located on Via Brera 28, where you can walk easily, while admiring the beautiful shopfronts on each and every street!
#4 stop: Castello Sforzesco
Just a couple of minutes away from Brera Design District on the North-West side of the historic center, there’s the majestic Sforza Castle! It is one of the most important landmarks in the history of Milan. Definitely a must for your Milan itinerary!
Castello Sforzesco was known for a long time one of the largest citadels in Europe. It was enlarged once between the 16th and 17th centuries and it was rebuilt at the end of the 19th century extensively.
Today it’s the home of some of Milan’s archeological, art, civil-history, numismatics, music, and design museums. It has also a rich fine art collection to explore.
To visit just the castle, you won’t need to pay. If you’re interested in the museums, check out the official website of the Sforza Castle for details! The tickets cost €5,00.
#5 stop: The Last Supper
Heading to Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, which is about 10 minutes away from the Castello Sforzesco, we’ll arrive at the last stop of our Milan itinerary!
The Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the highlights of the Renaissance Age, that is still to be found! And, yes, it’s in the heart of Milan!
The mural paiting was made in the 15th century, and you can visit it in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. As one of the most recognisable artworks of the Western World, this is unmissable from a Milan itinerary.
There’s limited daily access to visit Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work, so you do need to book tickets really in advance! While you’re in this neighborhood, in addition, you can also visit Leonardo’s vineyard. It’s a stunning museum and garden, on the other side of the road!
When to visit Milan?
Great question! Honestly, there’s no great time to visit Milan! Or actually, any time is great to visit the capital city of Lombardy! For a trip of 48 hours in Milan, I do advise choosing warmer months, so you don’t get stuck at home due to weather conditions though!
I’ve been so far in the summer and in the winter. Both were great, however the summer in this part of Italy is really humid, which can be really difficult for some! Also, Milan is invaded by tourists in the summer, so if you’re looking for a time when it’s less crowded, less hot, I definitely recommende thinking between September-May time, and to skip the summer!
Though, if you’re planning a round tour in the North of Italy, and you’ll be spending just a short time period in Milan, the summer can work as well. It really depends on your needs and plans!
How to get around?
Heading from the airports of Milan to the city center? I always recommend the shuttle buses, which are taking you to Milano Centrale train station. The tickets are around €5 with most companies, and there are many of them!
In the city of Milan, especially in the city center, I do recommend avoiding public transport as it’s taking really long. If you’re with a car, it’s literally impossible to navigate or find a parking space.
When you’re going outside the centro storico, such as to Isola, the train station, or even Navigli, just take the metro (subway), as that’s the fastest and less painful of all options. The best is always to grab a 10-use ticket, as it comes cheaper!
Where to stay in Milan?
As first, I’d recommend checking out Skyline Milan penthouse! A luxurious apartment in one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Milan, right near the Milano Centrale train station! The penthouse features two bedrooms, bathrooms, one having a Turkish bath as well! In Skyline Milan, you’ll also have a large living room with dining space, and an amazing panoramic view! The highlight though is the rooftop, with a jacuzzi, amazing design, and 360-degree panoramic views along with the city of Milan. An unforgettable experience offered by Skyline Milan, for your trip of 48 hours to Milan!
As I have mentioned, the Brera Design District is another best neighborhoods to stay in Milan, though the prices aren’t for the lowest budget. However, it’s safe, clean, and beautiful with many restaurants and bars around, which is again great! Two of my favorite b&bs’ and hotels in Brera and also near the Duomo were the Apart Hotel Bossi, and BC MAISON bed&cafe Milano. As an alternative, you can check out one of the best rated aparthotels, where you can have a mini apartment for yourself, Meneghino Aparthotel.